Accidental Death of an Anarchist – Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse, Sheffield

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Screenwriters: Dario Fo and Franca Rame

Adapter: Tom Basden

Director: Daniel Ragget

Accidental death of an anarchist is the first piece to be presented at the Tanya Moiseiwitsch Playhouse, formerly the Crucible Studio. It takes place in a police station and focuses on The Maniac, the mysterious central character, as he becomes embroiled in a police investigation. It’s an absolutely hilarious piece written by Dario Fo and Franca Rame and adapted and updated by Tom Basden. It’s now filled with modern cultural references and makes strong political statements, which makes the piece laugh for a minute while making you think and examine the state of the nation.

Daniel Raggett runs the 100 mph game fantastically. It leans fully into the surreal nature of the text while still feeling relatable and almost believable. The energy remains incredibly high from the first to the last second. Anna Reid’s design is simple but has some elements of theatrical genius while Nick Barstow’s musical arrangements and direction add more energy and comedy to an already fast-paced and humorous production. Lottie Hines CDG has assembled a cast of some of the best comedic actors in the country.

Daniel Rigby leads the small cast as The Maniac. Its performance is phenomenal. He is heavily responsible for keeping the energy of the room so high and his comedic acting skills are to be reckoned with. He even manages to show off his strong singing ability.

Tony Gardner assumes the role of Superintendent. It keeps the piece grounded in a certain sense of reality. Jordan Metcalfe is excellent as Daisy, a little silly. He has great comedic timing and he and Gardner make a great duo, bouncing around brilliantly. Shane David-Joseph plays Joseph and, although he doesn’t have a huge line count, never misses a moment to laugh without ever forcing the comedy into the play. Howard Ward’s performance as Burton is fun to watch, although it would have been nice if he had a little more to do. Ruby Thomas rounds out the cast as reporter Fi Phelan. She portrays the character very well, providing a great contrast to the dodgy culture portrayed within the police force.

Accidental death of an anarchist is an exceptional play, full of laughs while having serious and topical messages for audiences to take home with them. Be sure to see this fantastic cast play this very enjoyable game – but be quick, because this is definitely getting hot ticket.

Until Saturday October 15, 2022.

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